Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Bangladeshis' True Colors: Anti-Radical Muslim Attacked

Dhaka, Bangladesh (Feb. 22, 2009)—At 10am today, local time, internationally-acclaimed journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, was attacked as he was working in the office of his newspaper, Weekly Blitz, by “a gang of thugs” from Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League. I spoke by telephone with Choudhury as he awaited medical treatment for eye, neck, and other injuries suffered in the attack. The renewed violence marks the first against him since he was abducted by Bangladesh’s dreaded Rapid Action Battalion a year ago. After Choudhury was released unharmed, the military was able to assure that he was not attacked--until today under the auspices of the self-styled "moderate" politicians in charge.

A large group stormed Blitz premises and attacked newspaper staff until they found Choudhury. At that point, he said, “they dragged me [and two staff] into the street” where they beat them “in broad daylight…looted my office and stole my laptop” with “all my sensitive information." According to another reliable source, the attackers held Choudhury at gunpoint. As of this writing, they continue to occupy the Blitz office.

According to Choudhury, the police were impassive and seemed intimidated when the attackers emphasized their party membership and accused him of being an agent of the Israeli Mossad. They later threatened to attack his home should Choudhury go to the police again.

Choudhury was arrested in 2003 by government agents, in cooperation with Islamist forces, because of his advocacy of relations with Israel and religious equality, and his articles exposing the rise of radical Islam in Bangladesh. He was tortured and held for seventeen months and only released after strong pressure by human rights activist Dr. Richard Benkin and US Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL). In 2007, the US Congress passed a Kirk-introduced resolution 409-1 calling on Bangladesh to stop harassing Choudhury and drop capital charges against him after extensive evidence confirmed them to be false, contrary to Bangladeshi law, and as admitted by successive Bangladeshi officials, maintained only to appease Islamists. The Bangladeshi government continues to remain in defiance of that resolution and its provisions.

In December, Bangladesh elected a new left of center government that had promised to make a clean break from Bangladesh's corrupt past, end oppression of minorities, and stop harassment of dissidents and journalists. Thus far, its actions have been contrary to those promises. Leftist apparatchik, meanwhile, in many cases at the behest of pro-communist Shahriar Kabir, are leading a violent effort to silence Shoaib Choudhury and other rights activists who are not part of their anti-US and anti-religious cadre.

Individuals are urged to phone their representatives in the US Congress and inform them of the attack and of their outrage that Bangladesh continues to spurn House Resolution 64 and instead side with radical Islamists and anti-US communists. They also can contact Dr. Richard Benkin through this blog or at


Anonymous Deepak Kotecha said...

How oppressive does a religion have to be to torture and maim its own for being fair-minded?

2/24/2009 10:19 PM  

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